It all started with the Howdy, Modi event.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi while welcoming President Trump to the gathering had this to say, “Mr President, you had introduced me to your family in 2017. And today, I have the honour to introduce you to my family. Over a billion Indians and people of Indian heritage around the globe…”
A couple of days later in a press appearance with PM Modi, President Trump, who was obviously impressed by the love people showered upon PM Modi in the event, had this to say, “I remember India before was very torn, a lot of dissension, a lot of fighting, and he brought it together, like a father would bring it together; and maybe he is the Father of India.”
Soon, some detractors found a reason to ridicule President Trump and PM Modi. It suited them to ask “If Modi is father of nation, what is Mahatma Gandhi?” and kickstart a ridicule and outrage cycle.
Is there a need to say “calm down, guys”? Because it is not about getting an endorsement by President Trump, it is definitely not about belittling Mahatma Gandhi as everybody knows that PM Modi himself considers him an inspiration and often says he is cherishing the memories of Mahatma like never before through flagship programmes like Swachh Bharat.
It’s all about getting the context right. Just like the detractors of PM Modi had got it wrong in the instance of ‘Ab ki baar Trump sarkar’, here too their criticism is out of context. Whether it is Trump or anyone else, if they opine that PM Modi brought India together with a sense of responsibility and concern, is there any ground to ridicule it as a mere exaggeration?
On many parameters one can argue that India was ‘torn’ before 2014 and PM Modi ‘put together’ many things to shape a New India. We can deliberate upon this point with many examples such as the strengthening of national security, the decrease in the geographical area of Naxal violence, stability in the Northeastern region of the nation, no big-ticket corruption while cases against corrupt people got expedited so on and so forth.
Like a Family Head
If you just consider each household of the country as a unit and see all the things that have changed in crores of households since 2014, it is because someone is playing a role similar to a family elder who takes care of all the needs of the family. The illustration below will help you understand the disorder that was visible in a commoner’s house before 2014 and how under PM Modi the house was set in order with a series of measures.
There was a housing programme called Indira Awas Yojana but not up to the pace of today’s Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana that has built 1.5 crore houses for the rural poor.
As the inflation was high in the UPA period, households were never really able to save much. Electricity had not reached every village and household despite the public assurances of UPA’s top leaders in that regard. If a person in the family fell seriously ill, there was no Ayushman scheme to help out. The insurance scheme at that time was nowhere near Ayushman Bharat in terms of coverage, amount and the number of diseases covered. The discourse back then was about the number of gas cylinders a family can have, so there is hardly anything to write about clean energy reaching every household.
These are only some among many lacunae that used to exist if you take an ordinary household as parameter to gauge the progress. The same was reflected in the broader things as well with the big scams making the headline, news about lobbying and high-level corruption were mostly the things we read about and both the terrorists and Maoists used to attack the State at their will.
When PM Modi took the reins of India, he took up the broom to clean the house, literally and figuratively. To this date, over 10 crore household toilets were built. Especially for women of the household, these toilets are ‘izzat ghar’ that are ensuring their dignity apart from guaranteeing health and hygiene to the family.
When it comes to the tears of women of the household slogging in smoky kitchens, he introduced UJJWALA and as of now more than 8 crore households have got LPG connections.
Inflation was brought down by more than half, a staggering 37 crore people were provided with bank accounts so far and all the money meant for subsidy and scholarships is reaching the beneficiaries through DBT without any leakage. With this massive scale of financial inclusion, any person in the household can avail loan under Mudra scheme to run one’s small business. The household is financially strengthened like never before.
With Ayushman Bharat, the household need not go into panic mode in case of any member falls ill.
Electricity has reached almost every household and LED bulbs distributed under UJALA are saving a lot of money in every house
Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana has provided roads to 97% rural habitats.
PM Narendra Modi has brought peace to the lives of common man, while macro developments have happened at the national and international sphere. Read our article from the archive UPA Vs. NDA: From Corruption to Clean-Up just to get a glimpse of what setting the house in order really means. On the global stage, India has successfully moved from the bipolar geopolitics and is playing to suit its interests.
So, it may be fine to have a disagreement on a particular set of phrases the US President had chosen to praise PM Modi. But is it really possible to say many poor families that saw LPG, a house of their own, electricity, bank accounts etc do not consider PM Modi as a family elder helping them come out of distress?